How to Let Go of Your Standards and Feel Right Good About It

10 July 2014

Did you read Blythe's post about simplifying her life?? It rang so true for me. Between that and The Nesting Place tucked in my carry on, I'm spending a lot of our current vacation mentally at home: ordering and redecorating our house, painting the gross highchair, actually printing some pictures.

In my home, I've struggled both to create workable systems and maintain the systems I create. Surprisingly, however, this has gotten a little better since I've become a mother. I'm better at it because I have more to keep track of, so I don't have the option to let everything slide. But, mostly, I'm better at it because being a mother has taught me that it's okay to be deliberate about systems that aren't perfect...that sometimes the only real problem with my system is that I just haven't embraced it as a system.

For example:

When Jake was a baby, we had a few bibs that we got here and there that didn't work very well. So when Lucy June started solids, I thought we needed a better system. Some people have those bibs that are bulky and plastic and basically end in a bowl, and those seem like they'd work. Or Zulilly had some bibs that I'd seen them on Shark Tank and thought they looked handy. After researching all the bibs and all the options and the mom blogs and the amazon customer reviews and feeling just overwhelmed at all the ways of managing this issue, I began to wonder just how we'd done this with Jake. I had already done this once without any of those fancy bibs, and somehow my baby grew up into a three year old. I thought back and remembered that I'd done it by feeding him shirtless. Strip baby. Watch baby "eat." And then tackle the whole kit and kaboodle with a washcloth. Or plunk the baby in the tub and call it a "bedtime routine." Point being: it had worked. So there I was staring at all the tabs in my browser with all these great bib options, and I slowly began closing them and deciding that I was ok with doing it that way again. 

Now I'm at peace with my bibless baby feeding. We are as messy as ever, but I'm no longer anxious about it.

I often hear new mothers lament about how they've let go of their standards. It makes me sad when I hear it. This post is a gesture to rebrand the flexing and stretching of motherhood that looks and feels a little like lowered standards. Of course, maybe your standards are lowering and you need to fight the good fight and turn yourself around. But maybe you're just learning how to be more at peace with chaos.

The End.

Cue image of my nephew's enormous mouth. This child is awesome. And his mouth is awesomer.


  1. When I use the term "lowering my standards" I usually mean it in a good way. I think sometimes our standards are perfection, or close to it. And when we can't get there we end up stressed out, with a stressed out child and a stressed out family. When I "lower" my standards, it's allowing myself to not have to be perfect and that sometimes "good enough" is really good enough.

  2. Yes. I think lowered standards are a gift to many a mother, but too few recognize it as such.

  3. Yeah, I hear you on the bib thing. My problem is that they are hand wash. Seriously? For me that means I would have a stack of crusty bibs on the kitchen counter. So I have some that are just toweling with a neck hole and snaps in back. They're not waterproof, but I can wash them on hot with our towels. Means I stay on top of the towels, too.

    I hate bathing them but we have a tiny eurobath, which is just the shower. I mean you open the door and step in and that's it. My big girl gets a bath on the floor of the shower, because I just have to wash her off, then I can step back and let her play. But the baby needs a constant hand so I have to give her a bath on the kitchen table and she splashes everywhere. So I bought a rubber mat she can brace her feet on and I stand out in the shower, lean her up against my legs and hose her off with the shower head. If my standards there got any lower, it would involve not bathing them at all.

  4. Yeah, number one had fancy everything, number four has fancy nada.
    My first three used a $500 stroller and a $300 highchair, number 4 has a $20 umbrella pram and sits on the table!
    To hell with routines pet !
    Onwards and upwards sister xxx

  5. Yes to the shirtless baby feedings!

  6. I've been proudly not using bibs for at least four kids. Much to my mother in law's chagrin.


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